Thursday, April 03, 2008

SSG Matt Maupin's remains have been recovered and identified by US Forces.

SSG Maupin was declared missing in action after the fuel convoy in which he was driving was ambushed outside of Baghdad.

After that he was seen in a film in which he was forced to the floor while masked Islamic terrorists stood around him. After that, he wasn't seen again until last week.

Get captured by western forces and you go to Guantanamo, where the guards put on gloves to handle your (provided free of charge) copy of the Koran and every detainee gains weight. Or, at worst, you go to Abu Ghraib where you will still get the same treatment, but where once upon a time some stressed out kids who had friends that died on the streets of Iraq took it on themselves to play silly games with the detainees.

OR--you can get captured by the Islamists, in which case you have two options. You can either get shot in the back of your head, or you can get your head sawed off with a pocket knife. Oh, and only God and the Islamist bastards know what ensues between the capture and the execution. Somehow I'm thinking it's not like a stay in Guantanamo.

It literally, and I do mean "literally", keeps me awake nights pondering what SSG Maupin and others went through at the hands of those who claim to be acting on behalf of the "religion of love".

I can only wish SSG Maupin Godspeed.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I have some more nominations in the "Hometown Heroes" category.

Trail's End Popcorn is a company that, as far as I can tell, exists solely as a supplier of fund-raising popcorn for the Boy Scouts. Popcorn sales are a big event every year, sort of the equivalent of Girl Scout cookies, though not nearly as tasty. Each troop even has a popcorn chairperson, dubbed the "Popcorn Colonel". Corny, indeed (pun intended), but it works.

Well, Trail's End donated $25,000 worth of popcorn to the Iraqi Scouts. Good for them.

I worked my way up to the job title of Associate Scientist, but after getting hurt and getting discharged from the Army, I started out as a shipping/receiving guy at a biotech firm. I learned all sorts of things about the various shipping companies such as FEDEX vs. UPS (go UPS) and then a small company called DHL. DHL doesn't go everywhere on the planet, but they do one hell of a job with the places they do go. A real class act. Well, guess who shipped the popcorn to Iraq free of charge...

And then there's Minnesota state representative Bob Dettmer. Rep. Dettmer was there for the guys and gals on the Vets for Freedom National Heroes Tour. That alone makes him a hero in my book. Representatives, both state and federal, are notoriously difficult to get in touch with if you're not in their district. I wrote Rep. Dettmer an email thanking him for his support of the tour and not only did he get the email, but he replied to it personally, even to the point of including my name in his response. A great guy.

So, three more heroes: Trail's End, DHL and Minnesota Rep. Bob Dettmer.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

One of my umpire shirts from a few years ago has "Hometown Heroes" embroidered on the Little League patch. I'm not so sure that umpires are heroes--we just show up for a game and shout--but the men and women who put in hours and hours coaching youngsters, teaching them skills and hopefully sportsmanship--they're true hometown heroes.

There's no shortage of heroes in the global war on terrorism, but now we have a new and rather unexpected breed: Scout leaders in Iraq.

In a bit of a departure for an Islamic country, Iraq had a Scouting program for many years. Needless to say, under Saddam Hussein the movement was corrupted and was expelled from the World Organization of the Scout Movement.

Some dedicated people from Allied Forces have resurrected the Scouts in Iraq to great success. There are now over 1,000 Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in the Green Zone Council.

There's some history and a photo of the new circular Scout patch here.

Better yet, you can read their blog here.

They have a "wish list" for contributions. Anything would be welcome, but if you know someone who is trying to achieve Eagle in Boy Scouts or First Class in Girl Scouts, they could definitely make a service project by collecting and delivering supplies.

They are selling the round "Green Zone" patch depicted on the Wikipedia page as well as a "Green Zone Council" shoulder patch. If anyone is interested email me at